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Six Creative Ways to Up-cycle your Old History Textbooks

Origami: It's a bit more challenging using textbook paper rather than traditional origami paper, but I can tell you from personal experience that it's totally do-able and the results look awesome! I'm not including instructions on this one because they are abundant all of the internet, just google instructions for whatever origami figure you want to make and you'll have plenty of free choices to use.

Here are a few easy examples I made in less than ten minutes with completely unpracticed hands:

Our Signature Paper Plane (of course!)


Origami Butterfly


Origami Flower


Folded Paper Cup


Hollow Book Compartment: For this one, you'll need some Elmer's glue sticks and a box cutter.

To make one of these, simply open the book, draw a square or rectangular area that you what to hollow out (make sure to leave about an inch or so from the edges), and then cut along that line with the box cutter until you've hollowed the pages out except for a few in the back.

Then (and this part gets tedious, folks) glue each of the pages together. I have had some success in the past with simply coating the inside edges of the cut out and outer pages of the book with several layers of glue, but it gives the outside a fake look that may give the secret away.


Book Sculptures: Google image it…seriously, you'll see some amazing things!


Floating Shelf: Use that thick, sturdy surface to your advantage and make a floating shelf! You can either leave the textbook as it is or you can paint or modge podge it to transform the look into whatever you like. In my experience, modge podging usually does better than paint, as it won't peel, but it could have been the type of acrylic paint I used. A good all purpose spray paint should be a quick and efficient method to getting the look you want. Installing it is super easy and simple: all you need is a metal corner brace, some glue, and a drill. Here are some simple instructions.

  1. Get your materials ready. Paint or modge podge your old textbook if necessary and then let it dry completely.

  2. Pick out the place you want to hang it and find a stud in wall. Check for electric wiring and all that so no one gets electrocuted. Hold up the bracket to the spot and mark it with pencil so you'll know where to drill later.

  3. Coat the outside of one half of the bracket with a good, strong glue. (super glue or gorilla glue will both work fine).

  4. Open the back cover of the textbook and press the side of the bracket with the glue on it to the middle of the inside of the back cover. Let it dry.

  5. Screw the bracket to the wall and ta-da! You now have a floating book shelf!


Art Journal:

If you are creative- and you are, whether you know it or not (everyone is, only some people are more practiced than others in using their creativity)- you can make a beautiful art journal out of any unwanted book, but textbooks offer a special advantage because of their large page sizes and extra sturdy binding.


Fire Kindling:

Enough said.

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